Slowing down for meals

Slowing down for meals September 9, 2014

I would put good money on the fact that since many of our families are busy, busy, busy, many mealtimes are often hastily cooked and dolled out, especially dinner. As such, I found this post on slowing down mealtimes (from Haley over at Carrots for Michaelmas writing as a guest on Kitchen Stewardship) really refreshing.

When I was young, even with many activities, my mother still tried to have most of our meals sitting at the dining room table. I didn’t fully appreciate it as much as I do now, as my little family struggles to have normal meals in a normal amount of time — and we haven’t even started real child sports and activities yet!  Yet, Haley reminded me to try to make slowing down for meals a priority:

“And that’s why I love life around the table. Not because it needs to be some sort of fancy production. It doesn’t. People are physical and spiritual beings and the table is one place where those spheres intersect and our bodies and souls get fed.”

Our schedule is insane for the next two months…but I think we can still try to work towards being better about this, even in small ways. I think one way for us is keeping a set block of time for dinner (even if the start shifts slightly) and internalizing that even if there is a ‘break for bedtimes’, it’s still dinnertime. This seems to check a ton of boxes for us — meal as a family, connecting and having adult conversation, etc.

How about you? How do you slow down your meals?

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  • This is one of the things we have given up in certain seasons because of sports. Eating family dinner is just not possible when practices begin at 4:30, 5:30 and then 7pm (for 3 different children) and husband does not arrive home until 6:30 or 7pm. SOOO, we have just tried to do a nicer family meal on the nights where everyone is home (this fall it will be Wednesday night), and then of course weekend family breakfasts, and Saturday night dinner when we are all usually home. I think one of the hardest things about a large family with older children is that they each have their own life and their schedules don’t match up well with toddlers and babies! I am trying to cherish the few times a week where we do all sit down together, but it is not nearly as often as I’d like.

  • Queen B

    I think family meals are worth prioritizing and sacrificing other activities for. We are holding off on activities and sports (note: our family is on the younger side) in order to protect dinner time from other activities. However, if dinner time can’t happen (job obligations, or commitments to sports), consider doing a family breakfast instead. I think Katrina’s family is early rising and has opted for family breakfast instead of family dinner in the past. When I my husband was in residency, dinners at home were impossible. I would often bundle up the kids and a picnic dinner and we would meet him for a few moments at the hospital so that he could go back to work. Granted, it was a TON more work than just feeding the kids at home, but it was a worthwhile sacrifice to give us a few minutes together as a family. The quote from Haley is right on — we need to be feed our souls and relationships with family meals, not just our bodies.

  • J’

    I agree. Each family has to do what is best for them schedule wise while still prioritizing some mealtimes, even if not dinner. We are community oriented creatures, not just machines that need fuel. I LOVE that you met T out so that the kids could get to see him.

  • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

    J—Love this. I am assuming your husband’s crazy schedule will continue to include some evening commitments. I think something that has helped us is having family dinner whether or not Dad is here. I try to make it simpler (breakfast for dinner, nachoes, pasta, etc.) but we still all sit down at the table with plates, napkins, etc. It is super tempting sometimes not to do a real dinner when Dad isn’t here, but I think the habit is so important!